Headlight issue? - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 53 (permalink) Old 08-17-2013, 02:40 AM Thread Starter
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Headlight issue?

I'm really new at this, so if this is a stupid question, I apologize ahead of time.

When I set my light dimmer switch to the low beam setting, the headlight dims to about the brightness of parking lights on a car, and the headlight failure light comes on. If I set the switch to somewhere between Hi and Lo, the failure light shuts off, and the headlight seems to be lit at about the regular low beam brightness. If I set the switch to Hi, the high beam light comes on as normal, and the headlight seems to be as bright as the high beam should be.

My question is, is this normal? What I gather from reading the manual is that this is not normal. My VN is from 1998 and I bought it used. Could it be the result of a mod the previous owner did?
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post #2 of 53 (permalink) Old 08-17-2013, 02:45 AM
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No, should have low beams when set to low and hi-beams when set to high. No middle setting. Sounds something wrong with switch contacts or the wiring.

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post #3 of 53 (permalink) Old 08-17-2013, 07:38 AM
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It sounds to me like your bulb is bad....low beam may be burned out.
The Reserve Lightning Unit is using your high beam element at half brightness to cover the low beam....because the low beam is burned out.

This is normal....the RLU was designed to do this so you would still have some light when the bulb burns out.....replace the bulb.

As far as having any contacts or lights with the switch in the half between hi and low.....that is not how it was intended to be used.....that is just an incidental observation.
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post #4 of 53 (permalink) Old 08-17-2013, 09:37 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kc2dgq View Post
It sounds to me like your bulb is bad....low beam may be burned out.
The Reserve Lightning Unit is using your high beam element at half brightness to cover the low beam....because the low beam is burned out.

This is normal....the RLU was designed to do this so you would still have some light when the bulb burns out.....replace the bulb.

As far as having any contacts or lights with the switch in the half between hi and low.....that is not how it was intended to be used.....that is just an incidental observation.
You know what, that actually all makes sense. I'll swap out the bulb in a few days when I have the chance...and in the event that doesn't fix it, I'll go with blazblu's suggestion that it could be a problem with the switch or the wiring.
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post #5 of 53 (permalink) Old 08-17-2013, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by peteyj10 View Post
You know what, that actually all makes sense. I'll swap out the bulb in a few days when I have the chance...and in the event that doesn't fix it, I'll go with blazblu's suggestion that it could be a problem with the switch or the wiring.
Go with the bulb !

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post #6 of 53 (permalink) Old 08-17-2013, 11:07 AM
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Hey, I will sell you the new bulb I needlessly bought when I had the same symptoms.

Is dim, really really dim? If so, that is not the way the RLD works. When you burn the low element, the RLD should automatically transplant the high beam @ reduced voltage.

edit- I would test the bulb w/auxiliary power source. I plugged mine into my '92 S-10.

Last edited by wmsonta; 08-17-2013 at 11:09 AM.
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post #7 of 53 (permalink) Old 08-17-2013, 05:45 PM Thread Starter
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Hey, I will sell you the new bulb I needlessly bought when I had the same symptoms.

Is dim, really really dim? If so, that is not the way the RLD works. When you burn the low element, the RLD should automatically transplant the high beam @ reduced voltage.

edit- I would test the bulb w/auxiliary power source. I plugged mine into my '92 S-10.
I wouldn't say it's really really dim. It's not bright enough to use at night, but you can still tell that it's lit.
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post #8 of 53 (permalink) Old 08-17-2013, 06:05 PM
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With dimmer than expected lights (filament type bulb which we have) it's usually low voltage. If the problem is only at low engine rpm's (under 1500 rpm) it could just be a weak battery (several potential causes but probably just a bad battery). If the headlight is still dim at higher rpms you probably have a problem with your charging system.
With the filament type bulbs we have they generally work or they don't so I doubt it's a headlight issue although a loose or corroded headlight wire connection could do it but unlikely. Get a voltage meter out and test your voltage to the battery with the engine over 1500 rpm. If it's below 13v you've got a charging issue.

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post #9 of 53 (permalink) Old 08-17-2013, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
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With dimmer than expected lights (filament type bulb which we have) it's usually low voltage.
Buy the high beam still works as advertised.
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post #10 of 53 (permalink) Old 08-18-2013, 08:09 AM
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"and the headlight failure light comes on"

This was the obvious clue. The headlight indicator on the dash will only come on fully bright when a filament is out. I believe that over thinking troubleshooting issues is not helping......go for the obvious stuff first.

And I would suggest replacing it with a Silverstar Ultra bulb.
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